ANI HAUMAHA ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT FROM INTERNATIONAL HOCKEY
Veteran Vantage Black Sticks player Aniwaka Haumaha (née Roberts) has announced her retirement, ending the most recent chapter in a remarkable career. With 85 caps under her belt, Haumaha has been a valued team member and an inspiration for the next generation of players coming through.
Haumaha made headlines last year when she was named in the Vantage Black Sticks squad for the 2022 Women’s Hockey World Cup and Commonwealth Games, marking her triumphant return to the team after taking time off to have two children.
Reflecting on the highlights of her career, Haumaha shared, “coming back was the first highlight after having two kids. That was a special moment being named to come back into the Black Sticks environment.
“The second highlight for me was actually attending a World Cup and Commonwealth Games because I didn’t get to do that the first time around.”
Vantage Black Sticks assistant coach Verity Sharland praised Haumaha for her unique combination of on-field talent and off-field character.
“Ani is a very special person, not only with how she plays the game, but also what she does off the field. People don’t often see Ani’s strengths in action because she is always looking out for others.
“She’s one of our most controlled and composed defenders, and that’s why we’ve always loved her. She brings this element of calmness, which for young players is really important.”
Affectionately called Auntie by her teammates, Haumaha is celebrated for her caring and loving nature. “I care about these girls. I care about them on and off the field. That probably comes from being a mum now and sharing that love with these girls because they become my family away from my actual family,” she said.
When asked about what legacy Haumaha leaves behind, Sharland said, “it’s an impressive legacy. Ani has overcome a lot of adversity in her career. While I’ve only been a small part of her journey, it’s a pretty special one. She was integral in terms of what we created in 2022 and in bringing the team together. That’s what I’ll remember her for.”
Haumaha also offered some advice to the next generation of players, “there’s a long way and there’s a big journey ahead for these girls, and they just have to stick it out.
“There’s gonna be ups and downs, but when the time comes to wear the black shirt, all they have to do is value it, cherish it, and make the most of it.”
Looking ahead, Haumaha is excited to spend more time with her family, focus on her career, and enjoy life outside of professional hockey.
“I’m going to cherish having the time back with my kids and my husband. I haven’t had a lot of time with him over the last year and a half. I’m going to probably spend a little bit more time at work and work my way up the leadership ladder there. Still do a little bit of hockey now and then, and just enjoy life.”